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Spud1$
08-11-2013, 04:56 PM
I'm wondering if someone would post the bad habits that these posts discuss at times? I've been practicing for five months and mainly learning by the Internet. There is no teacher in the area so it's mostly you tube for me. I keep considering on line lessons but I only have a tablet so I'm not sure if those will work for me. I'm sure I have some bad habits because each you tube tutorial seems a little different even on the same subject. Please tell me what not to do. Thanks

Johnny GDS
08-11-2013, 05:26 PM
OK here are a few that I have run into. Also this is not meant to be offensive in any way to anybody, playing the uke is really only about having fun, and everybody does that differently! These are in no specific order.

LIST OF BAD UKE HABITS

1) Playing a D major with your thumb (over the top of the fretboard)
2) Strumming only with your thumb
3) Skipping Bb chords in songs
4) Skipping E chords in songs
5) Fingerpicking with your third finger planted on the top
6) Only fingerpicking with thumb, 1st, and 2nd fingers (not using the 3rd)
7) Not learning how to name different chord qualities and what they are
8) Playing the same rhythm for every song
9) Not being able to play the complete song without singing it at the same time
10) Playing slightly out of tune
11) Supporting a lot of the weight of the uke with your left hand while playing (assuming you are right handed)
12) Changing the key of every song to C to make it easier
13) Not playing along with recordings
14) Yanking right hand away from the strings when fingerpicking
15) Not learning the names of chords you play
16) Pressing too hard with the left hand
17) Letting left hand fingers lay too flat and mute strings
18) Not having a good ending to a song (or decently planned intro)
19) Drastically changing left hand position for different chord shapes (especially open vs. barre)
20) Practicing mostly stuff you can do well
21) Strumming with your right hand very "stiff", as opposed to loose and relaxed
22) Having a lot of body tension while playing

Once again, no offense intended, just a few ideas of possible bad habits. Many of these have very little effect on enjoyment of the uke, but may roadblock improvement in some cases. Kind of fun to think about this stuff, and it really reminds me of some problems in my own playing!

ChaosToo
08-11-2013, 05:32 PM
I pick my nose and my wife hates it........

Or am I missing the point of the question? :D

Johnny GDS
08-11-2013, 05:36 PM
yeah and it can get a boogie on the strings!

BIGDB
08-11-2013, 06:10 PM
Everything Johnny said is good I have a couple to add

1. I know lots of people won't agree with this but it helped me. Do not use tabs. When I played guitar a few years back that's how I learned and it never sounded right. You don't have to listen to that cause I know a lot of people use tabs. It always sounded better for me when I learned it by ear and also later on you can end up doing songs that don't have tabs and arrange your own stuff a lot easier

2. Don't let any tell you "You're doing it wrong" I don't mean to ignore advice but who said there's a right way to do something?

That's all I really have. Check this video out though http://youtu.be/3yRMbH36HRE victor Wooten is a great musician and what he says really relates to all instruments. What he says is kinda out of subject on bad habits but what he says will help your ukulele journey overall

Hope this helps

Newportlocal
08-11-2013, 06:59 PM
Everything Johnny said is good I have a couple to add

1. I know lots of people won't agree with this but it helped me. Do not use tabs. When I played guitar a few years back that's how I learned and it never sounded right. You don't have to listen to that cause I know a lot of people use tabs. It always sounded better for me when I learned it by ear and also later on you can end up doing songs that don't have tabs and arrange your own stuff a lot easier

2. Don't let any tell you "You're doing it wrong" I don't mean to ignore advice but who said there's a right way to do something?

That's all I really have. Check this video out though http://youtu.be/3yRMbH36HRE victor Wooten is a great musician and what he says really relates to all instruments. What he says is kinda out of subject on bad habits but what he says will help your ukulele journey overall

Hope this helps

That was interesting. Thanks for the link.

PhilUSAFRet
08-12-2013, 01:21 AM
[QUOTE=BIGDB;1353206]Everything Johnny said is good I have a couple to add


2. Don't let any tell you "You're doing it wrong" I don't mean to ignore advice but who said there's a right way to do something?

That is a great video, thanks.


Lots of great musicians and teachers, many of them here on UU say there are some rules worth following. While there are many parallels with spoken language, there are a few rules, that if broken, will make learning to play and/or progressing more difficult. Some will get frustrated and quit if they can't figure it out on their own. Some people pickup an instrument and instinctively learn to play it by ear. Even BB King didn't learn chords until his 40's, so there is a lot to this theory, but ultimately, BB did follow a few rules and learn his chords and was able to name the notes he was playing so that he could "play well with others." I have found it difficult to learn music theory and certain playing skills and have benefited from following a few rational "rules." If they help me, great. If someone else doesn't need'em to learn, great. I'm old now, and always and never are words I heed with caution. I do agree with not letting "rules" ruin your creativity. It's just in the degree. I think that between the creativity and the discipline extremes, there is a happy medium for all. As in politics, some will lean more towards the left and some more towards the right. Have fun and play the hell out of that uke.

ukuLily Mars
08-12-2013, 04:31 AM
Practicing too fast. It's a bad habit in itself, because it leads to learning things that are wrong (for example, chord changes), and it leads to other bad habits.

Spud1$
08-12-2013, 04:39 AM
OK here are a few that I have run into. Also this is not meant to be offensive in any way to anybody, playing the uke is really only about having fun, and everybody does that differently! These are in no specific order.

LIST OF BAD UKE HABITS

1) Playing a D major with your thumb (over the top of the fretboard)
2) Strumming only with your thumb
3) Skipping Bb chords in songs
4) Skipping E chords in songs
5) Fingerpicking with your third finger planted on the top
6) Only fingerpicking with thumb, 1st, and 2nd fingers (not using the 3rd)
7) Not learning how to name different chord qualities and what they are
8) Playing the same rhythm for every song
9) Not being able to play the complete song without singing it at the same time
10) Playing slightly out of tune
11) Supporting a lot of the weight of the uke with your left hand while playing (assuming you are right handed)
12) Changing the key of every song to C to make it easier
13) Not playing along with recordings
14) Yanking right hand away from the strings when fingerpicking
15) Not learning the names of chords you play
16) Pressing too hard with the left hand
17) Letting left hand fingers lay too flat and mute strings
18) Not having a good ending to a song (or decently planned intro)
19) Drastically changing left hand position for different chord shapes (especially open vs. barre)
20) Practicing mostly stuff you can do well
21) Strumming with your right hand very "stiff", as opposed to loose and relaxed
22) Having a lot of body tension while playing

Once again, no offense intended, just a few ideas of possible bad habits. Many of these have very little effect on enjoyment of the uke, but may roadblock improvement in some cases. Kind of fun to think about this stuff, and it really reminds me of some problems in my own playing!

Just what I was looking for thanks, also I found Victor Wooten interesting, as far as the nose picking I don't think I can break that habit lol. One more question. I seem to strum more withe the side of my nail is that unacceptable?

PhilUSAFRet
08-12-2013, 05:06 AM
OK here are a few that I have run into. Also this is not meant to be offensive in any way to anybody, playing the uke is really only about having fun, and everybody does that differently! These are in no specific order.

LIST OF BAD UKE HABITS

1) Playing a D major with your thumb (over the top of the fretboard)
2) Strumming only with your thumb
3) Skipping Bb chords in songs
4) Skipping E chords in songs
5) Fingerpicking with your third finger planted on the top
6) Only fingerpicking with thumb, 1st, and 2nd fingers (not using the 3rd)
7) Not learning how to name different chord qualities and what they are
8) Playing the same rhythm for every song
9) Not being able to play the complete song without singing it at the same time
10) Playing slightly out of tune
11) Supporting a lot of the weight of the uke with your left hand while playing (assuming you are right handed)
12) Changing the key of every song to C to make it easier
13) Not playing along with recordings
14) Yanking right hand away from the strings when fingerpicking
15) Not learning the names of chords you play
16) Pressing too hard with the left hand
17) Letting left hand fingers lay too flat and mute strings
18) Not having a good ending to a song (or decently planned intro)
19) Drastically changing left hand position for different chord shapes (especially open vs. barre)
20) Practicing mostly stuff you can do well
21) Strumming with your right hand very "stiff", as opposed to loose and relaxed
22) Having a lot of body tension while playing

Once again, no offense intended, just a few ideas of possible bad habits. Many of these have very little effect on enjoyment of the uke, but may roadblock improvement in some cases. Kind of fun to think about this stuff, and it really reminds me of some problems in my own playing!

This is a great list. I only have one to add: 23) not determining whether your uke is set up properly.

Wicked
08-12-2013, 05:27 AM
As some of you may have gathered by now, I am a pretty "play it any damn way you want" kind of guy.... the only thing that I really try to discourage is gripping the neck with your thumb coming around to the top of the fretboard. Keeping your thumb at/near the back of the neck will make things MUCH easier as you advance. Some chord shapes may seem more difficult at first, but keeping your hand at a roughly consistent angle will make chord transitions smoother/faster/better/stronger.

Other than that... go for it.

UncleMoon
08-12-2013, 05:37 AM
Just what I was looking for thanks, also I found Victor Wooten interesting, as far as the nose picking I don't think I can break that habit lol. One more question. I seem to strum more withe the side of my nail is that unacceptable?

Nope. If it works for you do it.

I was taking guitar lessons a couple years ago, and struggling to make an "A" chord with all 3 fingers (think "D" on your uke) - my teacher asked if I could cover all 3 strings with 1 finger and make the notes ring. By gosh I could. He said "For the most part it doesn't matter how you do it, just do it so it sounds right." I've been doing it ever since.

vanflynn
08-12-2013, 04:20 PM
Love all the aboves. I just have one nasty to add....

Make sure you are having fun. If you start getting mad at yourself, back off and back up. It will all come together in due time. The journey is the reason why you try, so enjoy it.

Nickie
08-12-2013, 04:27 PM
Very good list....I might add two more:
failing to practice enough (I fail at this)
and forgetting to BREATHE...my piano teacher reminds me of this all the time....

PhilUSAFRet
08-13-2013, 03:17 AM
Re: strumming with the side of the nail. If I'm careless with my strumming, With extended playing, can get an awfully sore finger. MGM had his bleed on occasion.

silveraven
08-13-2013, 05:07 AM
[...] and forgetting to BREATHE...my piano teacher reminds me of this all the time...

Haha! I'm guilty of the same. I used to play the sax in a local youth orchestra and the section leader/conductor had to keep an eye on me in case I turn blue. After that I learned to mark breathing breaks on my music sheets to remind me to breathe. ;) On the uke, I only do that when I'm learning new chords...maybe I need to jot down breathing breaks on my tab sheet too.

cdkrugjr
08-13-2013, 07:31 AM
Truthfully, fingering is only "right" or "wrong" in context.

For example, when I play Uncle Rod in C, I play the C before the Cdim with my pinky, which is "wrong" but in context it makes for a smoother transition.

Wicked
08-13-2013, 07:39 AM
Truthfully, fingering is only "right" or "wrong" in context.

For example, when I play Uncle Rod in C, I play the C before the Cdim with my pinky, which is "wrong" but in context it makes for a smoother transition.

Why do think that is "wrong"?

cdkrugjr
08-13-2013, 07:52 AM
Why do think that is "wrong"?

Me? I don't think it's wrong. For me, playing that particular transition in that particular context, it's the best fingering solution.

But the "official" fingering is to use either 1 or 3 to play the C chord, depending on which source one reads first.

quiltingshirley
08-13-2013, 09:26 AM
" Skipping E" ?
Gosh, is that really an important chord??

Ukejenny
08-13-2013, 10:11 AM
...Keeping your thumb at/near the back of the neck will make things MUCH easier as you advance. Some chord shapes may seem more difficult at first, but keeping your hand at a roughly consistent angle will make chord transitions smoother/faster/better/stronger.

Other than that... go for it.

This has helped me a lot, but I still get lazy and have bad hand position. It occurs mostly when I'm lounging on the couch and not sitting up when I play. I like to lean back into the couch and quietly strum. Really bad for my hands though.

Flyinby
08-13-2013, 09:22 PM
Lots of good thoughts in the thread, but my favorite is BigDB's "Don't let anyone tell you you're doing it wrong". Within reason, of course, but there are more ways to play and more successful and outstanding players that do things "wrong" when it comes down to how to strum or finger or read music or not, that it's not wrong after all.

Since this is a 'bad habits' thread, I'd add "Don't let your rhythm be determined by how easy or difficult the chords or notes are; a metronome or beat from an amp can do wonders for many things. Once you learn the chord or note pattern reasonably, and the words if you're singing, the steady beat will challenge you on difficult parts so that those hard fingerings become easier. It also prevents you from unconsciously speeding up on the easy parts, which usually sounds bad, and being able to play with a steady beat makes playing with others much nicer so you won't find yourself playing alone at the end of the song...

If you sing with it, try to avoid matching the chords with your voice. Many chords we find around either aren't quite "right", or the dominant notes are wrong for the actual melody of the song, so try to sing the melody without adapting it to how the chord sounds (it's easier after you've gotten familiar with the song and don't have to concentrate so much on fingering).

Shastastan
08-14-2013, 08:38 AM
As some of you may have gathered by now, I am a pretty "play it any damn way you want" kind of guy.... the only thing that I really try to discourage is gripping the neck with your thumb coming around to the top of the fretboard. Keeping your thumb at/near the back of the neck will make things MUCH easier as you advance. Some chord shapes may seem more difficult at first, but keeping your hand at a roughly consistent angle will make chord transitions smoother/faster/better/stronger.

Other than that... go for it.

I was doing it that way for awhile. For whatever reason, keeping my thumb on the underside was causing my hand to tense up. When I brought my thumb along the edge, I was able to relax my hand. This also made it easier to change chords faster. So far I have not used my thumb on the strings and have no plans to. I do have to move my thumb back for the Bb chord which I continue to struggle with because I don't practice it enough. YMMV.

Spud1$
08-14-2013, 10:42 AM
I was doing it that way for awhile. For whatever reason, keeping my thumb on the underside was causing my hand to tense up. When I brought my thumb along the edge, I was able to relax my hand. This also made it easier to change chords faster. So far I have not used my thumb on the strings and have no plans to. I do have to move my thumb back for the Bb chord which I continue to struggle with because I don't practice it enough. YMMV.
I have practiced Bb every single day for 4 months, I still only get it right once or twice a day, it is so discouraging for me and Bm is no better. If it weren't for those two chords I could pass Uncle Rods exam.

BIGDB
08-14-2013, 12:51 PM
[QUOTE=BIGDB;1353206]Everything Johnny said is good I have a couple to add


2. Don't let any tell you "You're doing it wrong" I don't mean to ignore advice but who said there's a right way to do something?

That is a great video, thanks.


Lots of great musicians and teachers, many of them here on UU say there are some rules worth following. While there are many parallels with spoken language, there are a few rules, that if broken, will make learning to play and/or progressing more difficult. Some will get frustrated and quit if they can't figure it out on their own. Some people pickup an instrument and instinctively learn to play it by ear. Even BB King didn't learn chords until his 40's, so there is a lot to this theory, but ultimately, BB did follow a few rules and learn his chords and was able to name the notes he was playing so that he could "play well with others." I have found it difficult to learn music theory and certain playing skills and have benefited from following a few rational "rules." If they help me, great. If someone else doesn't need'em to learn, great. I'm old now, and always and never are words I heed with caution. I do agree with not letting "rules" ruin your creativity. It's just in the degree. I think that between the creativity and the discipline extremes, there is a happy medium for all. As in politics, some will lean more towards the left and some more towards the right. Have fun and play the hell out of that uke.

I kinda worded it wrong. Why I meant is thee should be no rules with creativity like you said. There technically are no rules with how to play but there are ways that are better then others

Pundabaya
08-14-2013, 02:43 PM
5) Fingerpicking with your third finger planted on the top
6) Only fingerpicking with thumb, 1st, and 2nd fingers (not using the 3rd)


Uke players with a banjo background are narrowing their eyes, tugging down their trucker caps and going out to their pickups to get them their guns as we speak.

Pueo
08-14-2013, 03:49 PM
Hee Hee I was just watching John Mayer play Neon yesterday and he uses his thumb, over the top, to fret bass notes of his melody - he even changes frets with his thumb while holding the melody chords - fascinating. Yes, I know he is a guitar player but it is a clever way around the problem that he found!
http://youtu.be/B3Exg3LU8s4?t=1m16s

http://youtu.be/B3Exg3LU8s4?t=1m16s

cantsing
08-14-2013, 04:29 PM
I have practiced Bb every single day for 4 months, I still only get it right once or twice a day, it is so discouraging for me and Bm is no better. If it weren't for those two chords I could pass Uncle Rods exam.

They could take a while--eventually your fingers will get strong and obedient and you will play them both easily. You are doing the right thing to practice them regularly, just don't overdo it to the point of frustration. I don't remember how long it took me to get those two chords consistently, but it was definitely much more than 4 months.

Which leads me to suggest another bad habit to avoid--comparing your progress to others. We all learn at our own pace, so take joy in your accomplishments and try not to measure yourself against others.

Wicked
08-14-2013, 05:15 PM
[COLOR="#800080"]Hee Hee I was just watching John Mayer play Neon yesterday and he uses his thumb, over the top, to fret bass notes of his melody - he even changes frets with his thumb while holding the melody chords - fascinating. Yes, I know he is a guitar player but it is a clever way around the problem that he found!

Thumb fretting is a common technique on the guitar. 6 strings... only 4 fingers, might as well use the thumb. There really should not be a need to thumb fret on a ukulele... but I' not going to tell you not to do it.

Spud1$
08-14-2013, 05:26 PM
They could take a while--eventually your fingers will get strong and obedient and you will play them both easily. You are doing the right thing to practice them regularly, just don't overdo it to the point of frustration. I don't remember how long it took me to get those two chords consistently, but it was definitely much more than 4 months.

Which leads me to suggest another bad habit to avoid--comparing your progress to others. We all learn at our own pace, so take joy in your accomplishments and try not to measure yourself against others.

You made my day, I figured everyone learned them in a very short time. Thanks

26tiki
08-15-2013, 05:48 AM
Bad habits? Assuming that "The Mythical Right Way" does exist! Every player can teach you something that maybe you hadn't thought of before, but that doesn't mean that it suits you or your playing, or that you didn't learn anything from it at all. Rest assured, Your brain will conveniently file it away for later use while you're busy sorting out your own groove.
Play because it makes you happy, play because you don't want to put it down, play at whatever speed you like- trust your own ear will tell you when it's not quite right and finish the song anyway, you can always touch it up next time (that's what learnings about).
Worst bad habit ever? Believing that you can't.. True story

Johnny GDS
08-16-2013, 04:54 AM
Hee Hee I was just watching John Mayer play Neon yesterday and he uses his thumb, over the top, to fret bass notes of his melody - he even changes frets with his thumb while holding the melody chords - fascinating. Yes, I know he is a guitar player but it is a clever way around the problem that he found!
http://youtu.be/B3Exg3LU8s4?t=1m16s

http://youtu.be/B3Exg3LU8s4?t=1m16s

Jimi Hendrix was famous for fretting bar chord bass note with his thumb as well, and has probably influence thousands to try that out along the way!

Shastastan
08-16-2013, 01:03 PM
I have practiced Bb every single day for 4 months, I still only get it right once or twice a day, it is so discouraging for me and Bm is no better. If it weren't for those two chords I could pass Uncle Rods exam.

I just had a nice surprise and now I can do it pretty consistently. We just changed the strings on our tenors to PHD's. They were Acquilas. Well for me the PHD's are a lot easier to press on that top fret so the E and A strings go down a lot easier now. YMMV

I'll Fly Away
08-16-2013, 05:23 PM
Everything Johnny said is good I have a couple to add

1. I know lots of people won't agree with this but it helped me. Do not use tabs. When I played guitar a few years back that's how I learned and it never sounded right. You don't have to listen to that cause I know a lot of people use tabs. It always sounded better for me when I learned it by ear and also later on you can end up doing songs that don't have tabs and arrange your own stuff a lot easier

2. Don't let any tell you "You're doing it wrong" I don't mean to ignore advice but who said there's a right way to do something?

That's all I really have. Check this video out though http://youtu.be/3yRMbH36HRE victor Wooten is a great musician and what he says really relates to all instruments. What he says is kinda out of subject on bad habits but what he says will help your ukulele journey overall

Hope this helps

I checked out Victor Wooten. Wonderful words from a wise man and fine musician. Thanks for the link.

Shastastan
08-17-2013, 09:38 AM
I checked out Victor Wooten. Wonderful words from a wise man and fine musician. Thanks for the link.

Thanks. I passed that on to all my teacher friends.

Spud1$
08-19-2013, 04:45 PM
I just had a nice surprise and now I can do it pretty consistently. We just changed the strings on our tenors to PHD's. They were Acquilas. Well for me the PHD's are a lot easier to press on that top fret so the E and A strings go down a lot easier now. YMMV

I can't find those PHD's with a high G and thats what my one and only ever ukulele has. Do they only come in low G or do I just not kow where to look?

Shastastan
08-20-2013, 07:22 AM
I can't find those PHD's with a high G and thats what my one and only ever ukulele has. Do they only come in low G or do I just not kow where to look?

I just did a google search and the very first item in the list is this:

http://www.ukulelecreations.com/Accessories.html

The very first item on their site is high G for soprano.

Katz-in-Boots
08-20-2013, 02:27 PM
Rats! I hoped this thread was about the song "Bad Habits" by Billy Fields. I wanted this for our group but the original chords are off the planet for our standard so I was hoping to find a simple chord arrangement for it.

Bad Habits? Does buying yet another uke count?

Spud1$
08-21-2013, 05:54 AM
I just did a google search and the very first item in the list is this:

http://www.ukulelecreations.com/Accessories.html

The very first item on their site is high G for soprano.
Thank you !!